A report prepared by DIGI that responds to submissions received during the public consultation on the 2022 review of the code.
2022 CODE REVIEW
DIGI launched The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation in February 2021, and the code commits DIGI to a review of the code after a year of operation.
DIGI accepted public submissions to inform potential changes to the code between June 6, 2022 until July 18, 2022, including late submissions in the weeks following. DIGI encouraged stakeholders contributing to the review to read DIGI’s Annual Report and Discussion Paper.
Some of the key changes made as part of the review include:
- Encouraging greater participation in the code by smaller digital platforms, including by modifying the transparency reporting requirements for services with less than one million active monthly users in Australia.
- An updated definition of ‘harm’ in relation to mis and disinformation, addressing stakeholders’ concerns that the threshold of ‘serious and imminent’ threat of harm was too high; the new threshold is ‘serious and credible’ threat of harm.
- Additional commitments reflecting updates to the strengthened EU Code of Practice in relation to recommender systems, and deterring advertisers from repeatedly placing digital advertisements that propagate mis- and disinformation. There are also updates to further clarify that both sponsored content and paid for advertising are in scope of relevant commitments on demonetising mis and disinformation.
- Retaining the pre-existing exclusion of professional news content from being treated as misinformation under the code, and the pre-existing obligation for signatories to address this content when it is being disseminated as disinformation. The review concluded that the ACMA and the professional news media are best placed to address misinformation concerns within their self regulatory and co-regulatory codes.
- Requiring greater transparency around the specific products and services that are within scope of the signatories’ code commitments, through updates to the code, transparency reporting requirements and the DIGI website.
In addition to its commitments to periodic reviews of the code, DIGI continues to support in principle the ACMA’s recommendations to the Government to have greater oversight of the code and misinformation more broadly.
These updates are the latest set in a series of improvements driven by DIGI and code signatories since the code was introduced in February 2021. In October 2021, DIGI introduced independent oversight and a complaints facility to increase accountability. In 2022, independent assessment and best practice reporting guidelines were introduced to drive improvements in the transparency reporting process.
We suggested that stakeholders engaging in the code review read the following reports before sending DIGI a submission.
This report provides research about Australians’ perceptions of misinformation. It contains information about how the code has evolved since it was initially launched, detailing its governance arrangements, complaints and evolutions in the transparency re